Performing an oil change in a BMW 800 GS motorcycle is super easy, so don’t bother paying someone else to do it for you. Especially the BMW dealership who will gladly charge you a couple hundred dollars at their convenience. It only takes about 30 minutes, a tad longer if you haven’t done it before.
How frequently you perform an oil change in the 800 GS is a topic of much debate. If you follow the official manual, it says to do so every 10,000 km (or about 6,200 miles). Some say every 5,000 miles. Others, even fewer. If you came here looking for the end-all answer, sorry. I don’t have it. But I can tell you when I changed my oil at about 6,000 miles, it was quite dark in color. Almost black.
Step #1: Oil Change Tools and Supplies
The only tools you’ll need are an Allen Wrench, a Strap wrench for the oil filter (maybe), and possibly a few other simple tools if you have a skid plate installed. I happen to have an aftermarket skid plate, so I also needed a socket wrench. For supplies, you’ll need 3 liters of oil, a new oil filter, and the small brass crush washer or ring. You might be able to reuse the old one if absolutely necessary, but I don’t recommend it. If you buy the BMW 800 GS oil change kit, it will come with everything you need (minus the tools), and it’s super cheap online. Way cheaper than the dealership.
Step #2: Drain the Old Oil
It’s probably best to leave the bike on the side stand rather than the center stand if you have one. It will help the oil drain. Position the oil drain pan under the bike. Remove the oil pan plug. The first time I performed an oil change, I found out the dealership way over-tightened the bolt. Damn near broke my Allen Wrench trying to get it loose. Once removed, clean the drain plug real good. The plug has a magnet to collect small shards of metal from the oil, so you want to make sure that stuff has been cleaned off. While the oil is draining you can start work on the oil filter.
Step #3: Remove the Old Oil Filter
Using a strap wrench, remove the oil filter located below the radiator. The oil filter is the round object to the left in this picture. It’s sort of difficult to get the strap wrench in place, at least the one I have. The dealership tightened mine a little too much, so it was a bit tough to get off. It doesn’t need to be that tight. A small amount of oil will drain from the oil filter, so make sure you have a pan in place to collect the oil. Once removed, clean the area with a rag or paper towel. Wait about 5 to 10 minutes for the oil to completely drain from the bike. You don’t have to wait for every last drip, though.
Step #4: Install the New Oil Filter
Unwrap the oil filter from the packaging, but don’t lose the little brass washer or ring if it came with one. Wet your finger with a small amount of oil (new or old oil is fine) and lube the black rubber gasket around the oil filter shown in the picture to the left. You don’t want to seat the filter dry, because it will make it very difficult to remove the next time. Screw the oil filter into place. You don’t need to use the strap wrench to put the new oil filter back on. Just make it’s nice and tight using hand strength. It should go on very easily. If it’s not, make sure you aren’t cross-threading it!
Step #5: Reinsert the Oil Plug and Brass Ring
Put the small brass crush washer or ring back over the threads of the cleaned oil pan plug. I really recommend you use a new brass ring instead of reusing the old one. They are super cheap and using a new one will reduce the odds of you having a small leak. Screw the plug back into the oil pan. Tighten the oil pan plug with about 40 nm of torque. It doesn’t have to be exact, but make sure it’s on tight. Don’t overdo it though. There isn’t that much oil pressure that would cause the oil to leak out if the bolt isn’t on super-duper tight.
Step #6: Fill with New Oil
If you have a center stand, now is the time to use it. It’s easier to fill the oil when the bike is straight up. Remove the dip stick and insert a funnel. Again, the dealership tightened the heck out of the dip stick for some reason. Neither my brother-in-law or myself could remove it with just our fingers. I had to use a wrench. Fill the 800 GS with 3 liters of new oil. The manual says something like 2.9 liters, but 3 is fine. Don’t check the oil with the bike on its side stand and without first having started the engine. Some of the oil will fill the oil filter, so you won’t get an accurate reading if you haven’t let the engine run for a bit. After all the oil is in, reinsert the dip stick. Finger-tight is good. Don’t over-do it.
Step #7: Ride the Bike
Take the bike out for a couple mile test drive. The purpose of the drive is to get the oil moving through the filter and to also check for leaks. If you have any leaks near the oil filter or oil pan drain plug, tighten as needed. Better to find out about leaks now rather than when you’re on a long ride!
Step #8: Reinstall the Skid Plate
If you have one, reinstall the skid plate. Don’t do this until you’ve checked for leaks. You may find you have to remove it again to tighten either the oil filter or the oil pan drain plug.